A No-Hit No Run Summer (2008) dir. Francis Leclerc
Starring: Patrice Robitaille, Pier-Luc Funk, Jacinthe Lague, Roy Dupuis, Guy Thauvette, Peter Batacliev, Frederique Dufort
The summer of 1969 makes for a nostalgic trip into the memories of playing baseball and coming of age in suburban Montreal. Francis LeClerc’s film is too tender for it’s own good and severely lacking in conflict to be as memorable as it wants to be.
It’s 1969 and the expansion Montreal Expos are in their first year in the Major Leagues. Martin (Pier-Luc Funk) is a typical 12 year old who idolizes the sport and dreams of playing big league ball. First he has to make his local team coached by an ultra-serious wannabe Gilbert Turcotte (Roy Dupuis). Martin is dejected when he doesn’t make the cut.
Enter Martin’s unassuming father Charles (Patrice Robitaille) who hates baseball, but earns the respect of his son when he forms his own team from Turcotte's rejects. Like the ‘Bad News Bears” without the humour the team grows and improves over the summer, enough to challenge their cross-town rivals.
“A No-Hit, No-Run Summer” uses every cinematic trick in the book to ‘move us’ with bittersweet memories of nostalgia. Leclerc crafts half a dozen 8mm home movie montages scenes to bridge the various passages of time. It makes for an uninvolved drab version of “The Wonder Years”. All emotions, drama, and action sails under the radar and with a flat line tone of melancholy.
LeClerc and the producers try their best to liven up the setting with a number of summer of love pop tunes like 'California Dreamin’, sung by cover artists. The low volume helps to distract us from the fact they are cover tunes. Obviously budget didn’t permit getting a hold of the real thing.
Last week I reviewed Jean-Marc Vallee’s seminal coming of age film “C.R.A.Z.Y.” which used real Rolling Stones’, Pink Floyd and David Bowie songs – Vallee was free to crank the volume and blast the audience’s ear and revel in the wonderful music. And so, the half volume level of music sums up the general shortcomings as a whole for "A No-Hit, No-Run Summer".
“A No-Hit, No-Run Summer” is available on DVD in Canada from Alliance Films